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USTA Florida April 2010 -- Monthly Tennis Notes

March 29, 2010 07:00 PM
A round-up of miscellaneous news, happenings, and previews of upcoming tennis events across Florida:

March 30, 2010



Florida players blog this month from the
ITF Sr. World Chps. in Mexico City, Mexico

HERNANDO -- The 2010 Skyview Charity Tennis Tournament
will be held April 10-11, 2010, at the Skyview Tennis Center and will benefit the Boys & Girls Club's new Central Ridge Club "Burn the Mortgage" program. It is a mixed doubles-only event with divisions Open, A, B, C and Super C. Players with a NTRP level of 4.5 and higher have to play the Open, 4.0 will play no lower than A, 3.5 will not play lower than B, 3.0 and below will play in the C division and Super C is the same level but with a combined age of 110 or higher. Entry fee is $30 per person. Deadline for entries is noon April 7. Participants will be contacted April 9 with the starting time for the first match. For more information call (352) 249-1115 or e-mail tennis@CitrusHills.com.

JACKSONVILLE -- Purchase tickets to The MPS Group Championships AND support the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation. US Open finalist and Top 10 player Caroline Wozniacki returns to defend The MPS Group Championships title April 5-11, 2010, against the world-renowned stars of women's tennis including teen sensation Melanie Oudin. Purchase your tickets by calling the ticket hotline at 800-486-8366 and mention code "MWKF," and a portion of your ticket purchase will be donated to MWKF.

A captain's meeting for USTA Combo and Tr-Level Leagues will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2010, from 6-8 p.m. at the Jacksonville Southeast Branch Library. If you want to play with friends, family and co-workers, but are all at different NTRP levels, or if you are having a hard time getting enough people together to form a team, Tri-Level is for you. Play doubles with your friends on a  team consisting of three NTRP levels. Example: one 4.5 doubles, one 4.0 doubles and one 3.5 doubles = Tri-Level Adult team. This socially competitive league is a great way to enjoy the camaraderie of friends, family and co-workers. The deadline for Tri-Level Men Adult and Senior divisions is May 22, 2010, and a minimum of 6 players must be registered. For more info contact Larry Jaben at JabenL@earthlink.net.

San Jose Country Club in Jacksonville experienced an 80% increase in USTA Jr. Team Tennis participation over the last season. "We were really excited with the response for Jr. Team Tennis this spring," said Leo Vorwerk, director of tennis for the San Jose Country Club. "Our junior clinics have seen a 30% positive increase, as we have had over 90 players sign-up for spring clinics.  This large increase has really injected a positive energy into our program."

PENSACOLA -- More than 70 tennis players teamed up at Roger Scott Tennis Center for a special cause in March -- The B.I.G. (Biomedical Intervention Group) Puzzle Piece Tennis Tournament benefiting autism and autism awareness. "I think it's an awesome cause," said Liz Gomez, who paired with Barbara Shoulders to win the women's Pink division. "I have two friends who have children with autism, and they're incredible kids. It's a great reason to play, and absolutely, I will do this every year." B.I.G. Autism Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bring awareness, education and information on the latest treatment options from the Autism Research Institute to families in our community. Its goal is to provide hope and help to families affected by autism. In its fourth year, the tournament has raised nearly $10,000 each time out. Last year, the foundation was able to purchase a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to help those with autism.


From left: USTA Florida Executive Director Doug
Booth, and Seminole County Leisure Services Dept.
Park Supervisor Cindy Harkinds and Director Joe Abel

Individual box seats for The MPS Group Championships are now on sale -- "Our fans have asked that we sell box seats on an individual basis," said John Arrix, tournament director. "In today's market, many fans are unable to attend the tournament for the full week, but still want box seat amenities like chair-back seating and proximity to the players on court. The MPS Group Championships is listening to our fans and we want to provide the best experience possible." Daily box seat prices range from $38-75, for more info go to www.mpsgroupchamps.net. Additional player announcements for the tournament include Elena Vesnina, Dominika Cibulkova, Patty Schnyder and Virginie Razzano.

Jan Abaza won the Ponte Vedra Wildcard Challenge, presented by the First Coast Tennis Foundation, on March 7, 2010, defeating 14-year-old Sachia Vickery 6-2, 6-3. She earns a spot in the qualifying of The MPS Group Championships Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event, held April 5-11, 2010, at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The 15-year-old Abaza of Deerfield Beach, Fla., trains out of the Rick Macci Tennis Academy and is a high school freshman.

TALLAHASSEE -- The entry deadline is April 9, 2010, for the men's FAMU Wildcard Tennis Tournament, which will see the winner receive a wildcard into the qualifying draw of the USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger. The FAMU Wildcard Tennis Tournament will be held April 11-13, 2010, at the Florida A&M University Tennis Center. For more info contact Simba Happy at (850) 345-9216 or simbarashe20032003@yahoo.com.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare's (TMH) Vogter Neuro Intensive Care Unit (VNICU) will benefit from an 11th year of philanthropic support from the USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, which will take place during the week of April 17-24, 2010, at the Forestmeadows Tennis Center. All proceeds are placed in the D. Mark Vogter, M.D. Endowment at the TMH Foundation -- the fund-raising arm of TMH. In the past 11 years, the USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger has raised more than $500,000 for the Vogter Unit. "The Vogter Endowment was created as a memorial to D. Mark Vogter, M.D., a neurosurgeon at the Tallahassee Neurological Clinic, following his untimely death in 1998," said Maria Yealdhall, tournament chair and member of the TMH Foundation Board of Trustees. "Giving the Challenger proceeds to his endowment is the perfect match. He loved being on the tennis court and also loved being a neurosurgeon. It pays homage to his great zest for life and his complete dedication to his patients, friends and family." Tournament week commences with the Sharon Ewing Walker Pro-Am Sunday, April 18, with Pro-Am teams playing against one another in a round robin tournament. The Boys & Girls Club/Boys & Girls Town Tennis Jamboree, QuickStart Tennis for 2nd Graders in Leon County, a Special Olympics Day, a USPTA doubles clinic for all the Ball Kids, Babes and Dudes, a wheelchair tennis exhibition, First Serve Tennis Carnival, Tallahassee Tennis Association Night at the Challenger, and other special events are scheduled throughout the week. For more info go to www.tallahasseechallenger.com.


Barbara Cooper

WINTER PARK -- Barbara Cooper
passed away on March 10 at age 87. Cooper was an accomplished tennis player and a long-time member of the Winter Park Racquet Club, where she founded (and ran for 35 years) the Children's Round Robin, and where she was much loved. "Barbara was a great lady," said USTA Florida Board Member Bob Pfeander. "She inspired an entire generation of Winter Park kids to get involved in tennis, including me."

She was also a founding member of the Central Florida Tennis Confederation, Vintage Tennis, and served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Lawn Tennis Association. She received many tennis honors, including Umpire Emeritus from the USTA and a lifetime service award from the City of Winter Park. She was also awarded the annual Merit Achievement Award by the Florida Lawn Tennis Association (now USTA Florida) in 1972 for her many contributions to tennis throughout the state. Although she took up the game only after her children started in 1956 on the city courts at North Miami Beach under the tutelage of Nick Bollettieri in his first job, Cooper became an excellent tennis player in her own right. She and her daughter Margie won the State Mother/Daughter Champions in 1972. The Coopers moved to Winter Park in 1961. Cooper became a tennis icon in Central Florida where she officiated and ran junior tournaments as well as the State Husband/Wife Championships for many years. The Coopers were one of the very first families to be awarded Tennis Family of The Year by the then-FLTA in the mid-1960s. Her four children were all top-ranked juniors, collegiate stand-outs and Margie went on to play the Virginia Slims pro circuit. Her niece, Joanne Russell, became a Wimbledon doubles champion. Barbara and her sister, Jane Russell, were familiar figures at junior tournaments, driving their children and many others around the state from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to either UCF Women's Tennis (Box 163555 Orlando, Fla., 32816) or the National Senior Women's Tennis Association (Box 7115 West Palm Beach, Fla., 33405).


ACES -- Bradenton's Ryan Harrison set a number of records by winning his first round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, becoming the first 17-year-old to win a main draw match in Indian Wells since Rafael Nadal in 2004, and just the fifth player age 17 or younger to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. The other four are Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Rafael Nadal. After winning his first round in Houston in 2008, Harrison, then 15-years-old, had become the third youngest player since 1990 to win an ATP Tour level main draw match behind Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal...

Pompano Beach's Dhanielly Quevedo won her first ITF G4 event in March in El Salvador. With the win Quevedo raised her ranking to No. 298 internationally in the ITF 18 and under rankings. The 15 year old started playing ITF events only six months ago...

Dave Richardson, regional vice president and past president of the USPTA Florida Division, was confirmed in March as the newest member of the USTA Florida Board of Directors... 


Danielle Collins

St. Petersburg's Danielle Collins, 16, in March won the 18s division of the USTA Spring Nationals in Mobile, Ala. It is her first gold ball since winning the national 12s claycourts in 2006. "I finally got a gold ball in the 18s," Collins told ZooTennis.com. "It feels pretty good."...

Nathan Pasha and Spencer Newman, who train together at the USTA National Center in Boca Raton, won the Boys 18 USTA Spring Nationals title in Mobile, Ala., in their first event as a team, in the final beating No. 1 seeds Chase Curry and Jeffrey Offerdahl 6-3, 6-1. "We just had to get used to each other in the first round," Newman told ZooTennis.com. "Everything was pretty in synch, since we know each other." Pasha added, "Good chemistry and good teamwork equals a good doubles team." Newman and Pasha will team up again for the International Spring Championships and the Easter Bowl.

DELRAY BEACH -- The 18th Annual Delray Beach International Tennis Champions (ITC) came to a close in February, seeing record-breaking opening weekend attendance as thousands flocked to see the U.S. debut of the ATP Champions Tour with tennis greats John McEnroe, Patrick Rafter, Pat Cash, Mats Wilander and more. History was made as Champion Porsche, a current sponsor of the tournament, announced a landmark partnership as it signed on to an unprecedented five-year partnership with the tournament. "Champion Porsche is excited to partner with the Delray Beach ITC for many years to come. The Delray Beach ITC is the only ATP event in the world where a vehicle is showcased on Stadium Court highlighting our commitment to style and performance. Also, the ITC's unique approach to branding and service runs parallel with our goals. At Champion Porsche, as with the Delray Beach ITC, there is no substitute," said Jim Hahn, general manager, Champion Porsche. During the event the Tennis Channel did its commentary during a semifinal match from inside a Porsche parked next to the court.

CLEARWATER -- To celebrate USTA's designation of May as National Tennis Month and USPTA's "Tennis Across America Day," a Tennis Block Party is planned for Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater. The Suncoast Tennis Foundation has partnered with the City of Clearwater, local USPTA District 7 teaching professionals and Advantage Yours Tennis to provide a day full of tennis racquet and skill games for all ages and levels. With approximately 600 participants, last year's event local and national attention as one of the most successful events of its kind in the country. The event is FREE and open to the public. NO registration is required. Some of the highlights for the kids include the new QuickStart Tennis format that helps kids 10-and-under learn and play the game by utilizing specialized equipment. For the 4-and-under group, there will be a Tot Tennis Carnival. Adults and experienced youth players will have an opportunity to play in an informal round robin for all skill levels and receive a NTRP level assessment. All participants will receive prizes. For further information contact Judy Foster, executive director, Suncoast Tennis Foundation at judybfoster@mindspring.com.

LEE/CHARLOTTE COUNTIES -- The Lee/Charlotte Region 7 USTA Florida league captain's meeting was held at the Bishop Verot High School Cafeteria in March. Over 50 captains attended and were treated to food and drinks prepared by the school. Four local league coordinators -- Kevin Gaines, Jon and Donna McVety and Barbara Perry -- were on hand to give out schedules, team numbers and information on the local league rules. Each captain was given a ticket to have a chance to win USTA prizes.

LEE COUNTY -- According to the Ft. Myers News-Press, "The Lee County Community Tennis Association continues to earn honors. A resolution will be passed on March 30 by the Lee County Board of County Commissioners recognizing the association at their 9:30 a.m. meeting. The LCCTA will be recognized "for their achievements and extends grateful appreciation for the hard work and dedication shown by the organization towards the community of Lee County."

In other Lee County news, the LCCTA is offering a seven-week QuickStart program beginning April 12 at courts throughout Lee County. The program is designed to teach tennis to ages 5-14 in an easy and fun format. For more info go to www.leecountytennis.com. The LCCTA will also hold a youth tennis benefit dinner on April 23 at Nirvana Indian Fusion. All proceeds go toward supporting youth tennis programs, and tickets are $25 per person. For more info go to www.leecountytennis.com.

NAPLES -- USTA Florida local league coordinators held a Region 7 captain's meeting in March at Hodges University, attended by 35 captains as well as the three local league coordinators -- Linda Kleitch, Donna Koenig and Bob Baker. Captains were able to see the TennisLink website in action and the new www.USTANaples.com website, and were shown how to navigate the two sites. All questions were answered and the local and section new rules were explained to all, and materials for the leagues were given to each captain.


From left: BallenIsles Men's Open Doubles runners-ups,
BallenIsles pros Jay Berman and Patrick Eichhorn, with
winners Sven Goth and Keith Lipp

In late March the BallenIsles Country Club hosted the USPTA Florida Fast Dry and 10S Supply 2010 Grand Prix Circuit, sponsored by Signature Health Care. The tournament brought together more than 40 Florida teaching professionals. "This is the first time that BallenIsles has hosted a USPTA Grand Prix and the level of tennis was wonderful for our members to watch," said Tennis Director Trish Faulkner. Results: Julien Link d. Erik Turnquist in the Men's Open final; Sven Goth d. Hernan Garcia Vivot for the Men's 35 title; Tim Snell d. Ricardo Mendivil (walkover) for the Men's 40 title; Bruce Kurtz won the Men's 45 title; Gewan Maharaj d. Joe Bouquin (retired with injury) in the Men's 55 final; Goth and Keith Lipp won the Men's Open Doubles title, defeating BallenIsles staff professionals Jay Berman and Patrick Eichhorn; the Women's 35 singles was won by Susie Brown who coasted through the round robin format. The 2010 Grand Prix is also sponsored by Welch and USTA Florida.

SARASOTA -- The USTA Florida league Region 5 women's captain's meeting was held at The Meadows in Sarasota and attended by 50 lady captains. Ginger Ayres conducted the meeting and supplied each captain with a packet of league information and the captain's number for free registration into the league. Ayres explained new rules and reiterated several of last seasons rule changes for new captains. All the captain's questions were answered and several new teams were formed for the upcoming season.


 Venus (left) and Serena Williams in Miami received
the award for the 2009 WTA Tour Doubles Team of
the Year, and Serena the 2009 Player of the Year

The USTA Florida Super 70s Norm Ott Invitational Tournament was held at Hunter's Green Country Club in early March, featuring 92 participants and teams in the Ladies 7.0 and Men's 7.0 and 8.0 divisions. "The play was great with many close matches and this was a prelude to what we all hope will be a bigger and better tournament next year," said Tournament Director Ruth Ann Ott. "In 2008 we had 77 participants and this year we had 92 participants, which is close to a 20% increase. We have set a tentative date for next year's tournament for the weekend of March 11-13, 2011, so mark it on your calendars." Regarding the 2010 tournament, Ruth Ann Ott said, "First I would like to acknowledge my staff of Carol Levin, Dave Foster, Barbara Jones, and Gregg Gruhl. Also to USTA Florida Section, Sandy Marshall, Jodi Manning, and the media staff for the contributions to the tournament. All of you were awesome to make this tournament a great success." Ott's team successfully defended their title in the Ladies 7.0 division with the team from Clearwater/St. Pete. A team from St. Louis captained by Don Leisher won the Men's 7.0 crown, and another team from St. Pete/Clearwater captured the Men's 8.0 championship, captained by Wendall Walker, also successfully defending their title. Ott added, "An interesting note: In the Tallahassee versus Polk men's match, a Polk player said to one of the Tallahassee players, 'Isn't your name John?' and John said 'Yes.' The Polk player said, 'I was your roommate in college.' The story ends with them giving each other a big hug since they graduated in 1958, roomed together, and played football together. So you never know whom you will meet on the tennis courts." For more tournament info e-mail Ruth Ann Ott at raott@tampabay.rr.com.

The St. Pete Times Forum hosted the Tampa Tennis Classic tennis exhibition on March 22, 2010, featuring Jim Courier, Andy Roddick fresh off his runner-up effort at Indian Wells, Calif., James Blake, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonarena and Rennae Stubbs. All proceeds benefited Raymond James Courier's Kids, an inner-city youth tennis initiative that supports the First Serve tennis program at St. Petersburg's Bartlett Park. Courier began the program eight years ago with four components -- tennis instruction, computer classes, academics and mentoring. "We started with kids who were pretty young and we just had our first one to earn a college scholarship," Courier told Tampa Bay Online. "But I don't want that (earning a scholarship) to necessarily be our baseline for success. The success of the program is how these kids grow up and turn out as adults. The idea is to build productive citizens. As a byproduct, if we get some good tennis players out of it, that's great, too. We want to offer them an opportunity."

Got Florida tennis news? E-mail to news@florida.usta.com.






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